Last night's Canstruction Gala saw the unveiling of this year's winners of the competition. Twenty-six teams made up of architects, engineers, contractors and students proudly represented their giant structures built with canned goods, currently on display in the World Financial Center. With so many witty designs, judges had a hard time choosing but finally settled on winners for the five categories: Best Use of Labels, Structural Ingenuity, Best Meal, Jurors' Favorite and two Honorable Mentions. Our favorite, the Brooklyn Bridge by Skanska USA, took home the prize for Structural Ingenuity, and the clever Quick Response Code by Gruzen Stamton and the IBI Group won the Best Use of Labels.
The Canstruction charity competition was originally conceived by the Society for Design Administration and has been hosted by the Arts World Financial Center for the past four years. The American Institute of Architects, City Harvest and Move for Hunger also provide support throughout the competition. Move for Hunger partnered with iMoveGreen to make the transportation of the food possible between the participants’ work sites and the World Financial Center.
After much work to assemble the over 99,305 cans of food that collectively made up the 26 structures, jurors took a stroll through the exhibit to narrow down their selections. Juror Richard Hayden presented an honorable mention to Leslie E. Robertson Associates for their “Shedding Light on Hunger” entry. He was particularly drawn to the team’s intellectual thought behind the design and their use of the candle as a metaphor for the issue of hunger. Next came Mary-Jean Eastman who presented the second honorable mention to Gilsanz Murray Steficek LLP for “NepTUNA the HippoCANpus Against Hunger.” She noted the structure’s exquisite form and great alignment.
Moving into the categorical prizes, juror and Interior Design Magazine editor Annie Block presented the Best Use of Labels award. Using simple black and white labels, Gruzen Samton and the IBI Group created “QR-CAN: Link to Fight Hunger” whereby when you take a picture of it, you can scan the picture and it leads to the Canstruction website. Juror Ellie Krieger presented Dattner Architects with the Best Meal prize for their “Root Against Hunger” design. As author and host of The Healthy Appetite, Krieger appreciated the group’s focus on quality, stressing that all too often when catering to the food insecure quantity becomes the main focus rather than the healthfulness of the meal. Juror and master carpenter Chip Wade and 9/11 Memorial mastermind Michael Arad awarded the Structural Ingenuity award to Skanska USA for their risky and challenging “Suspending Hunger” design.
The Cheri Award was another category that honors Canstruction Founder Cheri C. Melillo who passed away in 2009 from terminal cancer. Her husband and son were on hand to present the award to students from Eleanor Roosevelt High School, recognizing their risk, hard work and dedication to the project. The two were surprised to learn high school students had been behind the design.
Finally, Executive Chef and juror Wade Burch presented the Juror’s Choice, the award that takes into consideration the most factors. This year’s big award went to Gensler and WSP Flack + Kurtz for their “Loaded Dice” entry. Burch commented on the group’s use of over 5 tons of food that included 24 different food items, most of which were organic. He was particularly struck by the variety that would offer food pantry chefs the options to craft an endless possibility of meals and vary the menu for over a month. The team’s canned food contribution alone is enough to feed over 5,000 New Yorkers!
The structures will be on display through the week and visitors are encouraged to bring a can of food to donate. The goal is to double last year’s 88,000 pound of donated food that fed over 70,000 hungry New Yorkers!
Gala images © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat
Canstruction images © Jessica Dailey for Inhabitat